September 24, 2021 

The Dallas Wings could fly higher in 2022

Under a new regime a solid foundation has been built

The Dallas Wings season ended after suffering a turbulent 81-64 loss in a single-elimination playoff game against the Chicago Sky on Sept 23.

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Every WNBA team’s goal is to play for the championship. While the Wings were able to make their way into the playoffs, that championship goal was not accomplished. However, under head coach Vickie Johnson the foundation for a championship-caliber team has been laid.

Johnson told the media after the loss that she was proud of her team and they did not let each other down. This was huge because she said when she got there they were more individual than team-oriented.

“This is a team. When I left that locker room and I saw their faces, sad, I felt sad for them but I was proud as well. Once the team can feel the same emotions at the same time. That’s what that means you’re growing, you’re going to be something special. We’re building the right foundation,” Johnson said.

As the youngest team in the league, they have time to continue to build and improve. The main thing that held Dallas back, like many other teams, late arrivals to training camp, the Olympic break and a multitude of injuries. There was never a set starting lineup and adjustments per game.

Transition and interior defense were two weaknesses of Dallas. When a shot was missed they didn’t get back quick enough. Chicago also had their way with Dallas in the paint getting 48 points. There are three second-year players like Bella Alarie and rookie centers Charli Collier and Awak Kuier, that with more experience and growth can be extremely effective.

There were times where the Wings stop and pop for one shot instead of spreading the ball around more. When it is not a good shooting game, Dallas does not get back in transition quick enough. The team solidified themselves as a top-ranked rebounding team and can outscore any team, but they need more consistency. If these things are improved, Dallas could find themselves much higher in the standings next season.

Wings’ leading scorer Arike Ogunbowale told the media after their regular-season finale that this team is young, but also growing.

“We’re not old at all and a lot of us are on rookie contracts too so we’re really not going anywhere anytime soon,“ Ogunbowale said. “Everybody doesn’t even know the league that much yet and we’re still learning and growing but still performing like this we only can go up from here.”

Written by Arie Graham

Arie Graham joined 'The Next' in May 2021 as the beat writer for the Dallas Wings.

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